As you know, it's been a while since I've been active in these parts. I just fell victim to some issues for an un-tended blog, and my longer and incredibly incisive etc. reply to you, Mr. McKenzie, was voided. For all I know, some draft of it may have reached you or bob in an email, but I suspect not...

I'll summarize it as follows: I don't think you give Zaretsky credit for being as careful in his statements and assumptions as he is - more careful than you are, and especially regarding what we mean or ought to mean when we use words like "Americans" and, in this specific instance, when we argue about what "Americans" think or feel or have decided or might decide. As for the rest, see my reply to bob, the newest "Noted and Quoted" as of this comment, and things to come. The gods or God or the masses or the mass-God or -gods or or or and America or Americans may not be all out of tricks.

Well, Happy 4th nine days later to you, bob. I accidentally surfed to CNN while that fellow was on, found myself as confounded as ever that there are so many people able to tolerate him - just on aesthetic grounds - and moved on before the sentence was done.

Weber understands "charisma" - whose modern usage he invented - as a collective and cooperative realization, as much bestowal (by the masses) as expression of innate qualities. The pre-existing definition of charisma refers to a divinely conferred gift - so also a bestowal.

Donald Trump is found and thus made charismatic by a critical mass of masses, and, if I acknowledge that he's charismatic, I'm not saying that I find his magic working on me in the sense of putting me on his side, only that I can see the magic working, or the finding-making happening, and think I can understand why and how.

Zaretsky via Weber also gets at why Trump is so much better on a debate stage or at one of his rallies, since in the former setting his ruthless aggressiveness, un-dimmable self-confidence, joyful combativeness, amor fati - his spirited-ness (thymos) - make him seem a foot taller than even an outstandingly talented and experienced conventional politician (Rubio, Cruz, even HRC), while in the latter setting he enjoys an intimate, unalloyed connection with those predisposed already to adore him and in adoring him exalt themselves. To observe or interrupt the latter feels like and arguably is a stumbling-upon upon acquaintances shamelessly making love in a semi-public place.

...and this does all bear on the question of how the Ds might best fight him. Even if we could somehow agree on a return-to-normalcy, make-politics-boring-again alternative, we'd end up attributing some form of charisma, even an anti-charisma charisma, to the nominee.